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1987 - Hardest Lesson

During economic downturn of the 1980’s my motor parts business began trading at a loss. After putting ten years hard work into it I was saddened to let the company go but had little option only to close it down in 1987. I immediately started as a self-employed sign maker in a shed behind my house with the new signmaking machine, lots of enthusiasm - but little else - and promptly went broke again! While the signmaking machine and business concept made absolute sense I simply had no customer base starting from scratch. It was unbelievably difficult to convince people to move from traditional painted signs to signs with vinyl lettering! Likewise, it was almost impossible to convince people to change from hand-painted signwriting of vans and trucks to machine cut self-adhesive lettering. Nowadays, it would be difficult to find any vehicle that has been signed without adhesive vinyl! With the financial assistance of a good friend I started again and moved to a small rented premises in an industrial park on the southside of the city. 

It was extremely difficult to get the business up and running while money lenders continued to pile more interest on top of existing debt. I did finally manage to clear that debt many years later and, looking back now, it was probably both the hardest and best lesson I ever learned in business. Debt is a killer of new small business and over-borrowing should be avoided like the plague. Instead, we have a culture of borrowing actively promoted and encouraged by Goverment itself which now has our small country swimming, if not yet drowning, in a sea of debt.
 

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